Crustal structure beneath the Dabie orogenic belt from ambient noise tomography

Yinhe Luo*, Yixian Xu, Yingjie Yang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

89 Citations (Scopus)


The Qinling-Dabie-Sulu orogenic belt in east-central China is the largest high and ultrahigh pressure (HP and UHP) metamorphic zone in the world. The Dabie Mountains are the central segment of this orogenic belt between the North China and Yangtze cratons. This work studies the nature of the crustal structure beneath the Dabie orogenic belt to better understand the orogeny. To do that, we apply ambient noise tomography to the Dabie orogenic belt using ambient noise data from 40 stations of the China National Seismic Network (CNSN) between January 2008 and December 2009. We retrieve high signal noise ratio (SNR) Rayleigh waves by cross-correlating ambient noise data between most of the station pairs and then extract phase velocity dispersion measurements from those cross-correlations using a spectral method. Taking those dispersion measurements, we obtain high-resolution phase velocity maps at 8-35 second periods. By inverting Rayleigh wave phase velocity maps, we construct a high-resolution 3D shear velocity model of the crust in the Dabie orogenic belt.The resulting 3D model reveals interesting crustal features related to the orogeny. High shear wave velocities are imaged beneath the HP/UHP metaphoric zones at depths shallower than 9. km, suggesting that HP/UHP metaphoric rocks are primarily concentrated in the upper crust. Underlying the high velocity HP/UHP metamorphic zones, low shear velocities are observed in the middle crust, probably representing ductile shear zones and/or brittle fracture zones developed during the exhumation of the HP/UHP metamorphic rocks. Strong high velocities are present beneath the Northern Dabie complex unit in the middle crust, possibly related to cooling and crystallization of intrusive igneous rocks in the middle crust resulting from the post-collisional lithosphere delamination and subsequent magmatism. A north-dipping Moho is revealed in the eastern Dabie with the deepest Moho appearing beneath the Northern Dabie complex unit, consistent with the model of Triassic northward subduction of the Yangtze Craton beneath the North China Craton.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12-22
Number of pages11
JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2012


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